Twilight Trees have added glamour to some of the most beautiful events of recent years, bringing elegance to venues such as Burlington Arcade, Royal Albert Hall & Historic Royal Palaces.
Their range of trees includes LEDs which provide a sparkling atmosphere to either floral or seasonal trees and are fabulous at helping setting the scene and make an impression. Whether you’re looking to create an intimate atmosphere with their smaller range or to create the ultimate showstopper with their larger trees, the effect is truly magical. We caught up with founder Susie Reid Thomas to find out more and what’s she’s been up to in the last few months.
The whole events and hospitality industry has been hit hard over the past few months, how has this affected your business and how have you responded to the crisis?
In the middle of March this year and with a good number of future events and weddings confirmed to supply our artful faux tree and foliage products, everything just stopped. Events were either cancelled or postponed. Faced with a real and obvious threat to our business, we knew we had to do something not only to help the team at Twilight Trees, but our industry too, which had immediately fallen on its knees. We started thinking hard. How could we channel our boundless energy and the creativity that we are known for into something that would really help businesses to re-open under the new guidelines?
A 4am light bulb moment and Living Spaces screens very quickly began to take shape.
From initial idea to a rapid prototype and setting up of a UK supply and manufacturing chain from scratch in a little over two weeks, Living Spaces screens were launched to provide businesses with an elegant way of building social distancing into their premises and events.
These beautiful space defining solutions can be used either independently as table, bar and station-separators or in flush-fitting rows and work particularly well for areas such as receptions, greeting, dining and entertainment zones. The range includes printed, as well as higher-end, faux foliage and botanical filled glass box screens, which are tall and wide enough to prevent coughs and sneezes travelling. The screens are made of shatterproof safety glass, allowing for clinical cleaning, whilst having a premium, non-scratch finish.
Designed to be flexible, they are easily updated seasonally. Customers can choose from different handcrafted arrangements to integrating Christmas lights and decorations, valentine hearts or including their own brand design and messages. The possibilities are endless. As sustainability is at the core of our brand, we’ve also developed these screens to be fully recyclable and re-useable.
How did the industry respond to the launch of Living Spaces?
We have been busy delivering the Living Spaces screens up and down the country to a number of businesses and have had some fantastic and enthusiastic feedback. We’ve had customers who on receiving our Living Spaces screens immediately ordered more. The screens’ good looks are proving so popular that businesses are telling us they intend using them in the longer-term beyond the current crisis too.
Tell us about your Twilight Trees and how you got started.
The trees were a lucky find. I came across LED Cherry trees on a trip abroad and absolutely fell in love with them. The very fact that they are a natural concept but given a glamorous, sparkling element made them even more special to me. After I brought one back for myself and I got so many friends and family members asking if I could get them one that I decided to set up a small business. That small business has grown and the trees have got more and more creative. I honestly thought that they would be a trend that came and went, the fact that the business has evolved like it has and the collections have been able to grow each year really does blow my mind.
Your business has come a long way quickly. What’s challenges have you faced along the way?
There are so many challenges faced by a small business. Time management, financial management, people management, risk. It’s all a massive juggle but when you really want something to work, you grit your teeth, get on with it and you make it work. It’s an exciting and rewarding process and although it has it’s ups and downs I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am so proud of what we do, the team we’ve created and reputation we’ve built.
How have people used your trees for styling events and parties?
The company launched in 2014 and I initially thought that we would be a sales focussed business with perhaps a hire or two on the side. It was almost immediately apparent that this was not the case. The business has now become one of the most prominent venue decoration and hire businesses in its field and there is no end to the creativity that they have encountered. The trees can look incredible either side of a doorway or as a feature in the centre of a bar but they also have power in numbers. There’s nothing more impactful than a forest of trees, be it floral, leafy or LED.
What sort of trees are available to hire and how do you bring the seasons to life?
The LED tree range includes Cherry, Maple and Palm trees, which create an instant wow factor and a sparkling atmosphere. The floral ‘Trees in Bloom’ range comes in shades of white and pink, they offer large-scale flora without the restrictions of seasonality. ‘Trees in Green’ and ‘Trees in Gold’ are bold, leafy, majestic and the ultimate showstopper. From the bountiful blossom of the spring to copper autumnal leaves, all the way through to sparkle at Christmas, we really can take you through all the seasons and the beauty is that that can be any time of the year.
How have your trees been used to help branding?
Our trees do work really well in branded situations and the options are limitless. From vast corporations such a Google to artisan toy brands, we’ve worked with a great variety. We recently created branded plinths for a champagne terrace for Moet and went on tour with the Pimm’s teapot last summer.
What’s the most unusual event you’ve worked?
There are so many to choose from! There was the corporate dinner at Blenheim Palace with life size taxidermy giraffes. Or the Star Wars wrap party featuring aerial artists, robot dancers and an indoor forest. Honestly the events industry is so creative right now, it’s a real privilege to work within it. We were heavily involved in the first ever wedding to be held at The Royal Albert Hall which was broadcast live on This Morning, that was different!
Your trees have lit up some incredible venues, what have been some of your favourites?
There’s nothing quite like seeing the whole of Burlington Arcade lit up with an avenue of LED Cherry Trees. The Natural History Museum was certainly up there too, having our entire Grande Blossom collection sit underneath that iconic whale skeleton was definitely a ‘pinch me’ moment.
What are you hearing from your contacts and clients about how the industry can move forward?
We are hearing a mixed response. With restaurants for example, some do not wish to open until further down the line when they have a better understanding of how the public and the industry are reacting. With others they see this time as an opportunity to realign their business. We’ve met many that are hugely passionate about ensuring their customers and guests feel confident and welcome. Most of the businesses we have delivered to were so excited to receive the Living Spaces screens, seeing them as a real enhancement to the overall space and atmosphere.
As the country begins to emerge from hibernation, we are finding more and more enquiries are coming through. 2021 looks to be a very busy year!